Thursday 17 January 2019

Martin O'Neill has the edge on Gary Rowett as Stoke weigh up their options

Martin O'Neill and Gary Rowett
Martin O'Neill and Gary Rowett

Miguel Delaney

Stoke City are weighing up whether to appoint a long-term manager in Gary Rowett or a short-term option in Martin O’Neill as they seek a replacement for Mark Hughes.

The club had wanted to wait until the end of the season to make a decision on Hughes’ future, but a drastic decline in results forced their hand mid-season, and means they may have to follow the example of many rivals and pursue Premier League experience to preserve their top-flight status.

That is something that could yet get O’Neill the job ahead of Rowett for the time being. While Rowett is the preferred option due to his impressive work at Birmingham City and now Derby County, he could be difficult to extract from the latter mid-season.

Having never managed in the Premier League before, there is also the view that Rowett would better benefit from a full pre-season.

There would be no such issues with O’Neill, especially since he hasn’t yet signed a new contract with Ireland. Even if he wanted to stay with the national team, however, there is the possibility that he could still go to Stoke because the Irish do not have a competitive match for the nine months.

That may prove less complicated than trying to sort a hefty compensation for Rowett, and there is also the fact O’Neill has a proven track record in the Premier League.

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